By Julie Johansen
The Emery Telcom board room was the setting for a roundtable discussion with 3rd Congressional Dictrict hopeful Chris Herrod and several community leaders on Monday afternoon.
Herrod introduced himself as part of a patriotic family with a father who served in Vietnam. He told of his years abroad studying in Ukraine, meeting and marrying a girl from there. Many experiences abroad have helped him develop a real appreciation for the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution that he hopes to be able to uphold, if elected.
When asked about rural issues, Herrod stated, “Rural issues are Utah Issues.” He reported that he was present in Vernal in 2009 when the Secretary of the Interior closed 77 oil leases and of his immediate realization on how much the federal government could influence rural Utah. Herrod explained that he purchased a book about public lands and gave it to 30 of his peers in the state legislature. He feels that Utah knows how to best manage its lands and that mineral extraction is extremely important. Herrod voiced that it is more than the Antiquities Act; the executive branch of the federal government has too much power than what was intended by the founding fathers.
Herrod also calls himself a platform Republican, meaning that his platform is in line with the Republican platform. It is practical to have local governance where decisions affect the people the most, he explained.
When asked about the litigation on regional haze concerning PacifiCorp’s power plants, Herrod responded with three questions: 1. Is it happening? 2. Is it man made? 3. Can we do anything about it? He was informed by Hunter Power Plant Manager Laren Huntsman that Huntington and Hunter plants have been found to be some of the most efficient and best operating plants in the United States.
With regards to economic development in rural Utah, Herrod once again stressed his feelings about getting the federal government out and letting local people who are involved make decisions. When asked about the exporting of coal and not being able to get ports in California to facilitate this, he felt that this should be regulated by interstate commerce laws and they are not being followed.
“We should not make laws and then not enforce them,” he said. “We all should have the same rights as environmentalists.”
When ask about Obamacare and its repeal process, Herrod again felt that this should be handled on the state level with his personal experience showing social medicine is not the right solution.
“Let Utah have the health system that it wants,” he said. “The federal government is not good at keeping its promises.”
Emery Telcom CEO Brock Johansen requested that if Herrod is elected, that he chooses his staff carefully, selecting those that will listen carefully and include the smaller telecom companies.